Black Friday Revealed
Damn, I knew capitalism left a lot of corpses in its wake but did you hear about the poor Wal Mart employee who was trampled to death by the commodity crazed six a.m. mob that charged through the doors on Friday? I'm not making this up. In the frenzy to fill their carts with cheap Chinese crap they gave him/her the old Mecca flattening treatment. Horrifying and yet...
I propose a public trial, lets put the consumers and the corporations and the culture and capitalism on the stand and find out who, if anyone, is guilty? I saw a tutorial on TV about how parents should break it to their spoiled little brats that there wasn't going to be as much crap under the tree this year, what with the global economic meltdown and all.
"But Mom, can't you just work a little more overtime?"
"I would Billy, but they just cut back my hours and I had to stampede an old man to death just to get this plastic AK47 on sale."
"Geez Mom, that really sucks!"
"We'll get you the grenade launcher for your birthday, by then everything should be back to normal."
I'm still trying to get a handel on the bailout. Today I read the total is up to 7.4 TRILLION (including loans, guarantees,etc) but another pundit threw out eight and a half. Not that I'm going to quibble over a measly trillion but remember when "Iraqi oil" was going to pay for the whole invasion/occupation? By the way, thats $24,ooo for every man, woman and child in the greatest country in the world (GCITW) . Not sure if fetus' qualify. Anyway, it doesn't SEEM like the shock doctrine, I mean ,they aren't imposing neoliberal structural adjustments on anybody, they are simply emptying the coffers and throwing it down what appears to be a black hole? Help me out here CB, anybody? Will somebody be paying this back? Is somebody getting rich?
Per our last discussion on the nature of capitalism,(and all that other cool stuff, libertarianism, Austria etc) I came across an interesting piece by Michel Aglietta (University of ParisX) , following Ferdinand Braudel, he makes a point which might help explain why we have at times been speaking at cross purposes. He writes:
"1. Since its emergence in W Europe, capitalism has always been both global and embedded in particular, endlessly differentiated social structures.
2. A market economy and capitalism are linked but are not identical. The market paradigm is one of exchange among equals; it can be formalized as competitive equilibrium. Capitalism is a force of accumulation. It is not self-regulating and does not converge to any ideal model. Inequality is its essence."
Struggling with model vs reality or theory vs history we have been treating the two, capitalism and market economies as identical. In capitalism, unlike markets, money is a public good and labor is not reducible to a commodity. When he says "embedded in social structures" I'm thinking state, government, civil society so that the difference between capitalism and mercantilism becomes one of degrees, it is quantitative rather than qualitative. Market theory is all that mathematical formulation we see on blackboards with its signs and symbols. Actual capitalism is the Mad Max rollercoaster of recent history.